Jury retires in gay murder case

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The jury in the trial of a conman accused of beating his gay lover to death with a fire extinguisher in 2007 has retired to consider its verdict.

Earlier this month, the Old Bailey heard that Glenn Rycroft, a convicted conman, had beaten Gareth MacDonald, 30, to death after MacDonald became suspicious of his past.

Rycroft, a former steward with British Airways, had previously pretended to have cancer in order to raise £200,000 to fund his ‘treatment’, which he then spent on travelling around the world.

MacDonald, who had started a relationship with Rycroft after meeting him over the internet, left his wife and three children for the man.

Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC said: “The defendant murdered Gareth MacDonald by hitting him twice over the head with a fire extinguisher.”

The court heard that the men had checked in at the Travelodge at Heston services on September 14th 2007 after getting lost while driving to meet Rycroft’s uncle and aunt.

MacDonald was found face down on the bed the following morning, wearing only his underwear. He had two large cuts on the back of his head which were caused by being beaten with the fire extinguisher.

Defending, Graham Patterson told the jury: “Even if Glenn Rycroft has demonstrated an ability not to have been a good person that could never justify him being convicted of a crime he had not or many not have committed.

“You cannot help but notice that his parents have stoically sat here throughout this trial. How grievous their loss. It would be inhuman not to sympathise with them.

“It would be understandable to seek, if only on their behalf, some sort of vengeance against the person said to have taken that life.

“But your task is to be coldly detached. Emotion and prejudice are the enemies of justice.”

Rycroft, 33, Rhewl, Holywell, denies murder.